Sweet sounds aplenty with Red Deer’s Hearts of Harmony

A brand new season including plans for a November concert are underway

There is more to Red Deer’s Hearts of Harmony than the impeccably-arranged harmonies and engaging performances audiences have enjoyed over the years.

The vibrant group of Central Alberta women – which specializes in traditional barbershop, jazz, rock, gospel and showtunes in intricate four-part harmony – is also something of a family; a fun and supportive group that members feel at home in right off the bat.

Under the direction of the talented Sheryl Brook, Hearts of Harmony began in Red Deer in 1993 with six members.

By 2001, the membership had grown to 20. Today, Hearts has 38 members from around Central Alberta who come together weekly to hone their skills and learn new melodies.

Women are by no means new to the barbershop genre, having been performing the style for some 75 years now, added Brook.

Local members rehearse on Mondays at 7 p.m. at Davenport Church (68 Donlevy Ave).

As mentioned, Hearts is more than just work – as well as learning music and performing in the community, members also emphasize friendship and fun, for which they are known to be about.

The group performs at several local community functions, nursing homes, churches, women’s conferences and private functions.

Sunni Paszcza and Joanna Sheppard sat down to discuss an upcoming show in November and also just what makes being a part of Hearts of Harmony so special. The concert, entitled ‘Singing the Dream’, runs Nov. 17th at the Memorial Centre, starting at 2 p.m.

“It’s about the different aspects of dreams – a lot of our songs will feature the word ‘dream’,” said Paszcza. “We have all of our songs picked out, but we are still ‘scripting’ the production.

“A lot of the songs are also part of our repertoire, and we will be doing a bit of our Christmas repertoire as well.”

The concert is a fundraiser, with money raised going to support the group heading off to competitions in the spring of 2019 in Surrey, B.C.

As for their membership in the group, Paszcza found a notice of it in the paper.

“I was looking for a chorus, and I just happened to come across this ad so I called, and I’ve been here 11 years now. I love it! It’s a lot of fun, and it’s something different doing the ‘a cappella’,” she explained. “It’s really a great group to be around – there is quite the mix of personalities,” she added. “We’ve got a really good dynamic altogether.

“There is also so much opportunity to get better and to learn,” she said. “I always thought you just go and sing, but we are always doing workshops and learning new skills – it’s great.”

Sheppard agreed.

“I found their web site which said you could come by and check out a rehearsal, and so I did.” From the start, she was hooked. “It’s the fun, and everyone is super-friendly and very welcoming,” she said.

“And the music is really fun to sing, too. It’s a challenge because you don’t have the accompaniment, but I enjoy that aspect.”

To those who might have an interest in the group but are feeling a bit shy about taking that step, Paszcza said to come by and take that step. The support is tremendous, she noted.

“You just get up there and go for it. You learn quickly, and if there is something you don’t know there is always somebody right there willing to help you along.”

“Music just speaks to our souls, really. And you get to let go of your day. You are doing something that you enjoy that’s fun. You can leave your worries at the door.”

Lesley Stafford and Helen Seaville also shared their thoughts on the array of benefits Hearts of Harmony brings to their lives.

Stafford said that for her, four-part harmonies are different than any other harmonies. “I just love the way they blend. Those are the harmonies I know the best,” she said, adding her mom had directed a barbershop chorus at one time as well. “You can also express anything you feel through music.”

Stafford also noted that amongst the members, there isn’t a complainer to be found.

“They are all so warm, compassionate and friendly. They are just a great group of women. And Sheryl is wonderful. She’s so talented, and she teaches us so much.”

Seaville officially became a member just this past summer.

“I love good music and I love harmonies,” she said with a laugh. So it’s proven a perfect fit from the get-go. “The ladies are a beautiful group of joyful people. And so that drew me too – the music was lovely and the people were just brilliant, so for me it was a win-win.

“Music really brings out the best in us. You go home happier than when you came in,” she added.

Stafford agreed.

“Even if you are having a bad day, come to a rehearsal, and 10 minutes later you are full of energy, you’re happier – you walk in and everyone is smiling at you. It’s great.”

Check out www.heartsofharmony.ca.

Just Posted

Neonatal nurse practitioner joins NICU care team

Babies requiring specialized care at Red Deer Hospital have extra set of hands caring for them

The old Greyhound Bus Depot is being demolished

The Red Deer building has been around for decades

Official torchbearers for 2019 Canada Winter Games announced

Canada Games officials open time capsule from Grande Prairie Games in 1995

Alberta Health Services, United Nurses of Alberta reach agreement to settle union grievance of nursing staffing shortage

Settlement includes the designation of 11.7 full-time-equivalent Registered Nurse relief positions

UPDATE: Two 12-year-olds have been found safe in Airdrie

Public tips were received which led the RCMP to locate the children this morning

UK lawmakers reject Brexit deal in 432-202 vote

House of Commons votes against the deal struck between Britain’s government and the EU

WATCH: World-renowned illusionist, magician, escapist performs in Stettler

Matt Johnson performs two sold-out shows at Stettler Performing Arts Centre

Olivia and Liam top list for Alberta baby names in 2018

Premier Rachel Notley announced the top baby names in Alberta in 2018; Loki didn’t make the cut

Edmonton Police charged 236 people with auto theft in 2018

Police states many of the thefts are crimes of opportunity

Woman’s complaint leads to sexual assault charge against Calgary priest

Malcolm Joe D’Souza, who is 62, has been charged with one count of sexual assault

Saudi teen who was granted asylum in Canada says she’s a lucky one

Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun was fleeing abusive family back home

New migrant caravan sets out from Honduras for U.S.

Caravan has about 300 people, mainly women and children

British Parliament nears historic vote on Brexit

A ‘no’ vote would throw British politics into further turmoil

Most Read